Il a agi seul?

On Wednesday, when Cat Daddy was leaving for work, Louis Catorze bolted outside and took refuge under a car, cheekily taunting his papa from his safe hiding place. Cat Daddy had no option but to leave him there, knowing that Le Roi had beaten him, but he returned at lunchtime to try to herd him back in – if, indeed, one can “herd” just a single creature. 

Catorze was nowhere to be seen, so Cat Daddy decided to go into Le Château and wait. He thought it would only be a matter of time before Catorze pitter-pattered home and heralded his return in the unique, special way that the entire neighbourhood has grown to know and dislike. 

Imagine his surprise to find the little sod IN THE HOUSE, AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS. 

Now … as we live mid-terrace, he would have had to go to considerable effort to find a way to The Back and let himself in through Le Tunnel. The only options are cutting through an alleyway MANY houses away or going up and over Cocoa the babysit cat’s garage (also some distance), both of which involve scaling multiple fences. And, quite frankly, there isn’t a chance in hell that he would have had the intelligence or the inclination to do any of those things. Cat Daddy even asked our two nearest neighbours whether they had let Catorze in through their houses. They hadn’t. Oscar the dog’s mamma did, however, mention that she’d had a cuddle with Sa Maj out at The Front and that he had sat on their front window sill for a while, staring into their house and rendering Oscar livid beyond belief. 

So the possibilities are: 

  1. Catorze went via one of our nearest neighbours’ windows without the humans’ knowledge (which is a bothersome thought, especially as he has previous in this area).
  2. A different neighbour let him go through their house (which is an even more bothersome thought as he would have gained their attention by screaming and, therefore, he is inconveniencing more people than just us and the small group that we knew about).
  3. Levitation. 
  4. Catorze is cleverer than we thought. 

Cat Daddy: “Well, it’s CLEARLY not number 4. I’m going to go for levitation.”

He’s joking, of course, but I can see that this is really bugging him. The two of them are having a Boys’ Club cuddle right now as I write, and Cat Daddy keeps saying, “How DID you do it, you little shite? This is up there with “Who Killed JFK?”, isn’t it?” 

I have a feeling we will never find out, and that we will simply have to add this to the ever-expanding list of Roi Mysteries.

La prise de la Bastille

One of our neighbours popped round a couple of days ago, and not only did he overhear Louis Catorze’s tormenting of Oscar 2 weekends back, but the little sod has, on numerous occasions, broken into his house. Through an UPPER FLOOR window. 

And, on the most recent occasion, a member of his family found him pitter-pattering around their landing, screaming, because said window had been shut and he couldn’t get back out. 

“Mortified” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how Cat Daddy and I felt upon learning this news. And “mystified” would have been our second adjective of choice, had we not remembered what used to happen in our previous home when we were attempting to train Catorze to use the cat flap. Long story short: he wasn’t having any of it and, instead, chose the Mission Impossible route in and out via next door’s fence, their conservatory roof and our upstairs bathroom window. During one outward (we assume) journey he even managed to get a large bottle of mouthwash stuck in the slats of the Venetian blind. To this day, we have no idea how he did this.

We also recalled that, just like his big brother, Luther, Sa Majesté was a master of going into places where he had no business being. Our next-door neighbour at the time would often text me saying, “There’s a black cat in my house. Is it yours?” And, when the texts stopped, I assumed it meant that Catorze was no longer impinging but, in actual fact, the neighbour had simply got to know him so there was no need to ask me if he were mine. The same lady also once heard scrabbling around under her bed and thought she had mice but, when she looked, it was Catorze.

So now that we know HOW, the only question is WHY the little sod would break into a house that has traces of dog in it, that doesn’t have a supply of food (both of which should make it less attractive to an impinging cat) and that is occupied mainly by ladies (which should make it less attractive to Catorze). And I don’t suppose there’s much we can do to stop him. We are just lucky that we have patient, understanding neighbours who like us. 

Cat Daddy: “For now. Our neighbours like us FOR NOW.”

This photo was taken last month but I love it because it sums up Le Roi’s arrogant and entitled attitude, surveying his Château and all the neighbours’ adjoining Châteaux which, it seems, are also his Châteaux:

C’est mieux dehors que dedans

*WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC REFERENCES TO CAT PUKE*

The puke switch has been activated. I should have known I had spoken too soon in my last post, and no doubt this is because Louis Catorze has been outside chewing grass and not because of the food change, but that doesn’t make it any less foul. And, sadly, the combination of cat puke the same colour as our floorboards plus a tiring day spelled disaster for me when I stepped into it with bare feet. 

Our floorboards are the original ones dating back to when Le Château was built and, when we had it renovated, the builders put some sort of magical expanding stuffing between the floorboards to plug up the gaps. However, this was almost 3 years ago and, over time, in some areas the stuffing has worn away. And, tragically, by stepping on the puke AND in trying to clean it up, I ended up accidentally pushing some of it between the gaps. 

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs: THERE IS NOW CAT PUKE UNDER OUR FLOORBOARDS. AND I PUT IT THERE.

Cat Daddy is not pleased about this at all. But, as he’s partially-sighted, I can’t imagine he would have spotted it, either. Nor would his clean-up attempts have been much better. 

So now we’re playing a waiting game. And, rather like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart but with its stomach-churning stench rather than an ominous drumming, the festering cat puke will slowly alert all comers to its horrifying presence beneath the floorboards. Sadly, as Cat Daddy has firmly vetoed taking up the floorboards (“They’ve been here for over a century and have remained intact through 2 World Wars, so we’re not pulling them up just because of HIM”) there isn’t much we can do, apart from hope that it soon passes.

Here is the little sod showing profound regret at the anguish he has caused: 

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Où est mon stuff?


A text reminder to give Louis Catorze his flea treatment is only really helpful if you know where the treatment is. In fact, I have no idea where the vast majority of our stuff is. “Somewhere in the floor-to-ceiling jungle of cardboard boxes” is as good a guess as I can manage.

So my second piece of advice to anyone moving a cat, after “Build the house first”, is: Put all the cat’s stuff into the removal lorry first, even if you are moving the cat last. We thought we had been very clever, packing all his things together and keeping them till last when we moved “so that nothing gets lost”. However, the problem is that it gets put on the lorry last, but unloaded at the other end first. Then it gets boxed into a corner by all the other stuff that comes after it.

Yesterday we had to drag our very hungover selves to Pets At Home painfully early in the morning when we realised we couldn’t find Louis Catorze’s food – although, when we got home, the little sod refused to eat it – and now it looks as if we’re due another visit for his Advocate. His Atopica and Piriton were packed in the same place, as were the dust mite repelling devices and the anti-allergy beeswax candles, all of which we could really do with right now. Oh dear.

Despite our manque d’organisation, Louis Catorze is settling into Le Château much more quickly than I’d anticipated, and I think the fact that he’s physically well, with very little trace of his allergy, really helps. He’s happiest, unsurprisingly, when he’s released from his attic prison and has the run of Le Château, and we’ve had many tail-up moments. The next major thing for him will be negotiating the Tunnel of Terror, i.e. the cat flap that goes through a wall. Given that it took him 5 months to go through our previous, super-simple door cat flap just once, another couple of weeks to make a habit of it and a further 2 weeks to realise that he could come in as well as go out, this could be an interesting saga …

J’adore mon château


They say that moving house is the most stressful experience the human body can endure without actually losing consciousness, or something like that, but they – whoever “they” are – have clearly never moved with Louis Catorze. After The Vet Incident, of which the poor veterinary staff now only speak in hushed whispers, I had expected nothing short of Armageddon for something as drastic as a house move: skies darkening, ravens circling, the lot. However, on the morning of the move, Louis Catorze was perfectly relaxed and happy, treating the cardboard boxes as his new gym rather than something to be feared. And, when the removal men turned out to be Crazy Cat Men, that was just about the glaçage on the gâteau.

They couldn’t have been nicer to Louis Catorze, cuddling him and having him purr and nuzzle them, after which he seemed to think, “Now that we’re friends, I don’t mind what you do in ma maison.” So they were able to stomp and make noise with reckless abandon, and he was absolutely fine with it all: no upset, no yowling, nothing. These guys don’t advertise themselves as a cat-friendly service – although they probably should – but, if you’re moving to or from the TW8 area and you want to make sure your cat is ok, look up Goddard’s of Brentford and ask for Dave and Matt to move you.

My no.1 piece of advice to anyone moving a cat would be to move them into a house that’s finished. Le Château-sur-Tamise isn’t even close to being ready so there was a lot of shunting Louis Catorze from room to room to create access for builders and, whilst he didn’t mind the builders themselves nor their noise, I think he could have done without the shunting around. His demeanour changed considerably at this point and out came the sad meows, the mega-sulks and the refusal to move from La Cage. Luckily he cheered up immensely by the evening and, after spending the night snuggled up at our feet and then waking us at 7am by puking on the floor, normal service had very much resumed.

Unfortunately the work will be going on for a good couple of weeks, so we’re going to have to shut Louis Catorze in one room when we go to work and release him when the builders have packed up for the day. Not ideal, but there’s nothing whatsoever we can do about it – and it beats the alternative, which is Louis Catorze absconding through an opening somewhere and heading across the park and towards the main road.

As a cat who has had a few different homes, I’m not sure whether Louis Catorze will respond to all this by thinking, “Oh merde, not this again,” or “I’ve done this before, and it was fine” (assuming he remembers, of course). I really hope it will be the latter, and that he will settle into his new Château quickly.